CBS Says Super Bowl 50 Broke Streaming Records With 3.96 Million Unique Viewers

CBS reported earlier this morning that its live stream of Super Bowl 50 broke all prior streaming records for the big game. Now the network has released numbers to back up that claim: according to an announcement this afternoon, 3.96 million unique viewers tuned in to watch the Broncos versus the Panthers across laptops, desktops, tablets, connected TV devices and mobile phones.

In addition, CBS said that viewers consumed more than 402 million total minutes of coverage, watching for more than 101 minutes each on average. During the game, viewers consumed more than 315 million minutes of coverage, with an average minute audience of 1.4 million.

To put those figures in historical context, NBC last year said more than 1.3 million people watched the Super Bowl through its web stream, which was then the highest number of concurrent users to date.

In addition, NBC’s live stream had also set records for average viewers per minute (800,000) and total minutes (213 million), per Adobe Analytics data cited by the network in its release at the time.

Prior to that, Fox’s 2014 Super Bowl live stream had peaked at around 1.1 million viewers, and averaged 528,000 viewers per minute.

It’s no surprise that the streaming figures are continuing to grow every year. Not only are more viewers than ever watching television via the web and other devices, the networks’ themselves are making it easier for viewers to find the game, no matter what platform the end user prefers.


For example, this year, CBS made the live stream available on its website on PCs and tablet, as well as via its CBS Sports app on iPad, Android, Windows 10 tablets, as well on connected TVs via Apple TV (3rd, 4th generation devices), Roku and Roku TV models, Google’s Chromecast, Microsoft Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV as well as select Android TV devices from Sony, Sharp and Phillips.

Not counted in CBS’ figures was ESPN’s airing of the game in Spanish on its ESPN Deportes channel. However, Verizon’s exclusive mobile stream via the Verizon Go90 and NFL Mobile apps were included, CBS tells us. (Disclosure: TechCrunch parent AOL is owned by Verizon.)

With the diversity of platforms where the stream was available, it’s difficult to more accurately make an apples-to-apples comparison between this year’s numbers and the last. What we do know is that as there are more ways to live stream made available, the viewers will come.


In addition to CBS’s live stream, other notable numbers related to the big game were also released today.

For example, YouTube said that people spent 300,000 hours watching Super Bowl ads and teaser videos on its service during the game, and overall it saw nearly 4 million hours of ads and teasers watched so far. The ads and teasers have been watched over 330 million times, with 60 percent of that coming from mobile devices, YouTube also said, adding that’s the first time the majority of views have happened on mobile.

Meanwhile, on social media, the Super Bowl continued to dominate the evening’s chatter, as usual. Twitter didn’t have overall numbers to share at time of publication, but noted that it exceeded 3.9 million tweets during the Halftime Show.

Nielsen also noted the game was the most tweeted event to date.

Facebook reported today that 60 million people were discussing the game on the social network, with 200 million posts, comments and likes. However, this year’s event was only the second-highest level of conversation Facebook has measured for any Super Bowl to date. Last year’s matchup between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks still holds the record on the platform.

Facebook-owned Instagram did well, too, saying that 38 million people had 155 million interactions on its service related to Super Bowl 50.